I’d tried a mess of keywords for first book “One of One” and got one impression. That’s right, one. It was a very cheap ($0.22) and highly ineffective experiment. Forget keywords.
So for Shape of Secrets, I looked through Amazon’s suggested sub-genres. One was LGBT Fantasy Fiction. That was a category? Okay, the book is about a young gay man who can alter his appearance to look like anyone, so I guessed it fit. I tried it and got 87,684 impressions, 170 clicks, and sold three books. Hot damn. Yes, I’d spent $63.22 to do it, so I was losing money while Amazon was laughing all the way to the bank, but at least something was happening.
Read more at How about this ad?
You know what? It was a LOT of work to get this all the way done. Not fun creative stuff, but I-just-want-to-quit-this-shit-and-go-take-a-nap type work.
Why stick with it?
Read more at … is still a thousand miles.
So. Let’s be blunt. I think sex is wonderful. I agree love is the greatest thing in the universe. I like it when people live happily ever after, or at least I’m allowed to think they will. However, romantic love (in all its trials and tribulations) doesn’t carry a plot for me.
I like action, intrigue, and surprises. I enjoy puzzles, and profound thoughts. So why do I end up reading so many romance novels and then complaining about it in the reviews?
Read more about my frustration with romance writers at What makes it a romance novel?
I know I’ve loved books others don’t like, and missed the charm many found in popular books. Reading is an interaction between the author and the writer, and the two don’t always match up well, even when an intelligent reader comes across a well done story. We’re all different, right?
Read more about how refreshing it is to get a review from someone who happens to get you at Nice to be understood.
Looking at it forced me to see other photos of this model, however, and I found several I liked so much better. Doesn’t she look so much more interesting in the other three photos?
I persuaded DDD to try an edgier look and I was happy with the result. So were most people in my informal focus group, although one person thought she now looked slutty. Sigh …. Not what I intended.
Read more at That’s her!
When it came time to create the last cover, we needed Teddie to make a second appearance, but not with an identical face. This particular model had dozens of photos to choose from, but unfortunately many of them had to do with selling beauty products.
Read more at So that’s what she really looks like?
Lucky for me, my sister disagreed. She didn’t know what Alex looked like either, but she was so positive it wasn’t this that she went to Shutterstock and emailed me photos of several other models.
Okay, it looked like we’d have to find another Alex. Option one she sent was clearly too young, but the other six could work. I went searching for any of them.
Read more at So that’s what he really looks like?
When it came time to create the last cover, we needed Zane to make a second appearance, but not with an identical face. This particular model did have many options to choose from, but unfortunately most of them weren’t so appropriate for the sort of book I was writing.
Read more at How does he really look?
When I first wrote One of One (called x0 at the time) I was obsessed with giving form to my mental picture of Lola, the main character. I wished I could draw well enough to show the world how she looked. I can’t, so I scoured Shutterstock for artists images that captured what I was seeing in my mind. These were some of my favorites.
Read more at How does she really look?
Then, someone pointed snag number two out to me. They thought Cillian, who is supposed to be in his forties, looked a little too old and could even be mistaken for Ariel’s father Alex, who is in his fifties. At first I didn’t think so, but upon reflection I saw the vague resemblance.
Read the end of the cover saga for the fifth book at The fifth one
Honestly, this is all too much to hold in my head at once. I keep checking my spreadsheet thinking I’m forgetting some essential component somewhere. There’s got to be something I’m forgetting.
Read more about being in various stages of revising five different books at once at Learning to Juggle.
Do you get what you want, or do you get what you need?
I had a spirited discussion about this once with a psychologist. I was praising the wisdom of the Rolling Stones; she was sharing her professional observations. We were at a party and it was lucky no nearby cynic entered the conversation arguing people don’t get either.
It is a conundrum, though, isn’t it. You ask for something you think you want, only to discover….
Read the latest update on the saga of the search for the perfect cover at Watch what you ask for.
Note the story ended well. I’m delighted with the final cover, shown here.
I’m also particularly pleased with the title of this one, and the way the fine people at Deranged Doctor Design added light to represent what Teddie insists on calling the world of mist.
Now, my job is to make sure the story itself is worthy of all this.
Read more at A New Look.
I struggled for weeks with the cover of Twists of Time, the third book I am re-releasing. It’s done now and slated to be out mid-March, but it wasn’t a pretty process. Below is the post I wrote when I was trying to decide if I should give up and accept a cover I didn’t particularly like.
In the end, I chose to pay the designers for a redo, and I’m already so glad.
I’m a perfectionist, at least about the things that matter to me, and my books matter to me a lot. I’m also a people pleaser. I hate to be a pest. The result is I tend to say I’m okay with something, when I’m really not.
You can see how these two impulses could combine to cause a problem.
Final version after the redo
Read the full story at All Done and I’m Still Not Sure
Last week I published the new Shape of Secrets in paperback and for kindle. Below is a post I wrote right beforehand.
Now, I’m ready to do it again. Shape of Secrets is as done, double checked, and triple checked as it is going to get. I’m into formatting and prepping mode, with the hope of submitting all formats on Sunday the 17th, getting approval Monday the 18th. Read more at 90001 words and ready
I’ve been holding my breath for months now (metaphorically) as I worked to release my first novel with a new title. I could hardly be blamed. The first title had an exponent in it. (Yes, as in the letter x raised to the power of zero.) If you’re not mathematically inclined, trust me it was clever, but no one could fault me for wanting a title that was easier to pronounce, market and search for.
Read the full story of how it went when I republished the old x0 under the new name One of One at It worked!
I’m trying to show more courage in my own life, and for me right now that translates into being more honest about who I am. My deep dark secret? I write science fiction ….
Read more at Have Courage
One of One is now ready for its January 17 release, and I’ve moved on to the same process with Shape of Secrets. Its gentle read happened last fall, and a few days ago Bitchy Editor took over. She’s got all sorts of problems with this book. Why doesn’t anyone here ever use a contraction when they speak? Nobody uses big words like that? What does that even mean?
She’s having a good time, I think. To be honest, it’s hard to tell. Shape of Secrets is taking shape, however, in new and better ways.
Read more at Bitchy Editor is Back
You know, get rid of some of those lingering adverbs. Reduce the he saids, and make the he pondereds, he chuckleds and he exclaimeds go almost completely away.
She has been doing that, and found more than I expected, but that wasn’t enough. She’s decided to look at every sentence and demand to know what it is doing in my book. Does this matter? Who cares about this? Why is this in here?
Read more at Bitchy Editor says this is it!
Every part of self-publishing is an adventure. I’ve been working with a group known as Deranged Doctor Design and we’ve been working on the paperback version of the second novel. Isn’t it beautiful? I especially love the beach on the back cover.
The part requiring the most revision was the color of the spine and the insert on the back. I was determined for it to be orange, so the designer suggested a more transparent look I loved, but no decision is without ramifications. The cover for the first novel, One of One, was finalized a few weeks ago, and it doesn’t match.
Or at least it didn’t. Now it’s been revised and we’re on a roll.
The first draft of the cover for book three should be done in about a week. I can’t wait to see it.
I’m going through much of the same process re-birthing my second novel as I went through with the first. The first draft of the new cover was good, but my shape shifting protagonist couldn’t have facial hair, and I wanted more of a feel of the tropics.
I loved the background of this second version, but didn’t like Zane’s new head. As someone else put it, he had too much of a “Jersey Shore” look to him.
Once again, the third time was a charm.
Read more about this process at Almost my new cover and at Fun With Covers.
The newly named and highly edited new version will be out in mid-February. I can’t wait.
I had great fun working with a pro to design a new, genre appropriate cover for One of One. Here’s what the first draft looked like.
The second draft was much closer, and needed only a few more tweaks to get there.
This final version combines the best of both, I think. I’ll be proud to release it, along with the streamlined and updated story, on January 17.
Check out my original two posts about this process of making this cover at Not My New Cover and Almost My New Cover